If you have suffered a personal loss at the hands of a negligent person or business, then you have likely considered filing a personal injury lawsuit to get the compensation that you need to cover financial losses, and, perhaps, to ease the more substantial harms suffered. There are several factors that you will want to consider before hiring an attorney in St. Petersburg who will best represent your case.
You’ll obviously want to consider what level of experience the attorney and the law group have in cases like yours. While a lawyer might have been in business for a decade or longer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will be a good fit. Your case may be unusual and unlike the typical cases they ordinarily oversee. It may be possible to get references for the attorneys that you are considering or look at online reviews. It is also helpful to ask very pointed questions. This is not done to put an attorney on the defensive, but rather to learn more about the specific situations that he/she has been involved with in the past. What is involved in filing a case like yours? Is it likely to go to court? Is it likely to go to trial? Has the attorney taken a case like yours before a jury in the past? How long ago? How did it turn out? What damages does he or she believe you will be awarded for your suffering? On what does he or she base this number? Asking questions like this can tell you a great deal about what level of experience the lawyer has with situations like yours.
Another advantage of having such a conversation with an attorney is that it will allow you to determine how well your personalities mesh. You don’t want to be represented by someone who you don’t feel comfortable with. There should be a good rapport that makes you feel confident in his or her ability to speak on your behalf, but that also leads you to believe that the meetings and phone conversations that take place in the meantime will be comfortable and informative.
At some point during the initial conversation, the topic of money will likely arise. In Saint Petersburg, it is typical for a personal injury attorney to offer services with the expectation that payment will be received only if the case is won. This “contingency fee” type of payment arrangement is the most common. However, the attorney should be able to explain exactly what services those funds will pay for, what percentage of the award will be collected by the attorney, and how he handles the costs that arise. If you don’t feel comfortable with the arrangement, or you don’t fully understand the services to be rendered, consider talking to other attorneys until you find one that makes you feel more at ease.
There is likely some area of your life, work, hobby or other passion, that you have a much better understanding of than the average person. You will have likely found that you have to change the lingo that you use when talking about that topic based on who you are speaking with. If it is someone who works in the same field, or enjoys the same hobby, or shares your same passions, then you might use words that are specific to that topic, which the average person may not understand. The same is true for personal injury attorneys. There are many legal terms that are regularly used in this profession, but that doesn’t mean that someone unfamiliar with legal processes would understand those words or phrases. Your attorney should be able to explain everything in layman’s terms, so you have a clear understanding of everything that must take place.
The most important factor to consider when hiring a lawyer is simply how comfortable that person makes you feel. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with him or her about the facts of your case, then you will be less apt to give all the pertinent information and there is a greater chance that obstacles will arise as a result.